DNA in the Criminal Justice System as Evidence
Uploaded by cevster on Dec 29, 2004
The Tale of the DNA
Our criminal justice system is best described as a search for the truth. Increasingly, the forensic use of DNA technology is an important ally in that search. The development of DNA technology furthers the search for truth by helping police and prosecutors in the fight against violent crime. Through the use of DNA evidence, prosecutors are often able to conclusively establish the guilt of a defendant. DNA evidence offers prosecutors important new tools for the identification and apprehension of some of the most violent perpetrators, particularly in cases of sexual assault. DNA aids the search for exonerating the innocent. Lets take Dennis Fritz for instance. As mentioned in the article, Innocent, After Proven Guilty by Adam Cohen in the TIME magazine, Fritz was an average father from Oklahoma who led a normal life as a single parent raising his thirteen-year-old daughter. He made a living teaching science to Junior High School students at the time he was convicted of raping and murdering his neighbor, twenty-one-year old Debra Sue Carter. The evidence against Fritz was vague. "He had no eyewitnesses, no evidence linking him to the victim and no credible evidence linking him to the crime scene." But he was misjudged by the odds. What he didn't realize is there were other players working against him and found himself in a situation where he had everything to lose, "…a convicted criminal, wasting away in jail with little hope of ever proving his innocence." Ron Williamson, Fritz co-defendant, was days away from being executed and put to death. He was retried due to a small technicality. Prosecutors then decided to do DNA test on both Fritz and Williamson of semen and hair found at the crime scene. As a result, the DNA proved them both innocent. Stupidity is not a capital offence in the American justice system. So why are they making so many mistakes? This is when it should work to separate the innocent from the real dangers to society. When it failed for Fritz and Williamson what they got was twelve-years of punishment for someone else ignorance. Also mentioned in the article, a man by the name of Vincent Jenkins was wrongfully convicted of the rape of a Buffalo, N.Y. woman and served seventeen-years in prison was just released after DNA test had proven him otherwise. Tim Durham, convicted for the rape of an eleven-year-old girl,...